Oct 03

“Carmen” Triumphs, Seduces, and Saddens

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© T Charles Erickson Photography; Carmen (Jennifer Johnson Cano) scrawls “love” on the chest of solider Joseph Yonaitis.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera
Conducted by David Angus
Production by Calixto Bieto
Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

September 23 – October 2, 2016
Boston Opera House
539 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
BLO on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) So, okay, say you know this girl, right? More of a “broad,” maybe—flirts with the boys but won’t take shit from them, never lies to appease some dude’s ego, takes lovers and throws them away with ease. Say she gets in a tough situation—but it’s hard to say what’s tough for her, really, she’s not from a great background. But she’s in this situation, right? And it’s either go to prison or go home at the end of a long work day at the cigarette factory. So she flirts some with the poor, idiot small town officer that has her captive. Naïve guy, sweet enough. Continue reading

Sep 29

“Machine” Delivers a Bumpy Ride


Presented by Arts Emerson
Director, Co-Writer, and Original Idea by Vincent Dubé
A Machine de Cirque Production

September 21 – October 2, 2016
559 Washington St
Boston, MA 02111
Machine de Cirque on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In the face of the neon polish standard that is Cirque de Soleil in the Canadian acrobat scene, Machine de Cirque’s simplicity is real, grim, and refreshing. Here, the stage is covered in junk—bicycles, drums, stripped down scaffolding, juggling pins. The performers who encounter each item play and experiment, piecing the fragments into an act. It’s stunning. Perhaps a bit dark, too, as a viewer is left to wonder where, exactly, these performers are. Are these homeless young men in a junk yard? Or has the apocalypse come and gone, and they’re left with nothing but pieces in the dust of the cataclysm?  Continue reading

Jul 29

Everyone’s Invited to “The T Party”

Playing through August 13, 2016. Photos by Paul Fox

Playing through August 13, 2016. Photos by Paul Fox

Presented by Company One
Written and Directed by Natsu Onoda Power (with contributions by Jade Sylvan)

July 15 – August 13, 2016
Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Company One on Facebook
Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MAThe T Party is colorful potpourri of a show: bright, engaging, and eclectic in design. The skit format gives a wide range of stories based under the LGBTQ (QUILTBAG?) umbrella usually, but not always, focused on gender. Natsu Onoda’s anecdotes come in a wide range, some as feel good as a ‘90’s prom in the style of Lisa Frank that opens the show. Others are  more awkward, like a Craigslist meet up between a cis male identified crossdresser and a trans Filipina escort. The scope is broad and looks to simultaneously create community and intimacy. Without focus on an individual narrative, the tone shifts between joy and sadness wildly, suddenly, as if the two emotions weren’t separate at all, but a continuum of the same experience. Continue reading

Jun 28

Spider Cult’s Tangled Webs of B-Movie Burlesque Pastiche

The Sweethearts via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

The Sweethearts, photo via their website www.theslaughterhousesweethearts.com/

Presented by Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones
Starring the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts
Created by Jade Sylvan (playwright & producer) Fem Bones (creator, director, & choreographer), Catherine Capozzi (composer, guitarist, & band leader)

June 24 at 6:30PM, 10PM
June 26 at 5PM, 8:30PM
The Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Spider Cult: The Musical Facebook Page
Spider Cult: The Musical Soundtrack

By Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Spider Cult: The Musical is deep fried pulp, beer-battered in burlesque and costume blood. This is a certain kind of creepy, specifically a Boston kind, certainly my kind. The choreographed fight scenes and blood shed are as enthusiastic as the stripping. While the plot didn’t need to be anything other than be a skeleton on which one could hang a few themed, stylish burlesque routines, Jade Sylvan and Fem Bones gives us violence, pathos, and insight into human relationships—a many-legged beast of a story. Continue reading

Jun 23

Promo: “Sindependence Day III: Stumbling Up to Boston”

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The Federation of Belligerent Writers Presents Sindependence Day III: Stumbling Up to Boston
Davis Square Theatre in Somerville
Saturday, July 16th
Doors at 9pm, 21+
$13.50 online, $15 at the door.

Promo by Gillian “Demoness Bixen” Daniels

(Somerville, MAThe Federation of Belligerent Writers is taking on Boston! Come party with us Saturday, July 16th, at 9pm, Davis Square Theatre in Somerville for our special event, Sindependence Day!

We’re a bracketed style, masked writing tournament. With one foot in improv and the other in mayhem, the initially luchador wrestling-inspired contest began as a mid-week open mic challenge at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester.

It’s since grown to a weekend event with hundreds of fans.

The tournament is simple. During each round, two competitors take the stage, one in the red corner, the other in the blue. Three words are chosen at random by hosts Cassie Tai Tortorici as “Basic Bitch Becky,” a Starbucks-swilling, foul-mouthed stage manager, and Ethan White as “El Locutor Fabulso,” the allegedly-impartial verbal sparring partner to Becky, also known as “That Guy.” Continue reading

Jun 09

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios” Packed with the Usual Curiosities

Presented by Cirque du Soleil 
Written and directed by Michel Laprise
Director of creation – Chantal Tremblay
Compositions and music direction by Raphaël Beau
Compositions and arrangements by Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard
Acrobatic choreography by Andrea Ziegler, Rob Bollinger, Yaman Okur, Ben Potvin, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Susan Gaudreau, Germain Guillemot, Boris Verkhovsky, Danny Zen

May 26th (premier) – July 10th, 2016
Suffolk Downs
525 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA 02128
Kurious on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Suffolk Downs, Boston, MAKurios, unlike the other two Cirque du Soleil shows I’ve reviewed for The New England Theatre Geek, is tied to a world of technology and innovation. In 2012, Totem offered meditations on natural history, complete with frogs. Amaluna came to Boston in 2014 and involved a shipwreck on an island wild with magic, a loose adaptation of The Tempest. Kurios, though, is centered on 19th century trains, gramophones, laboratories, and aerial machines. Continue reading

Jun 01

Caravan Palace is Here for All Your Science Fictional Swing Dance Needs

Presented by WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts
CARAVAN PALACE
Sunday, May 22, 8:00 pm
House of Blues Boston
15 Lansdowne St., Boston
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Caravan Palace on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Caravan Palace came out strong the other night when it started its engagement at House of Blues with, “Comics.” The song, simultaneously upbeat and chilling, is a rhythmic single off of their latest album, <|°_°|> [Robot Face]. The energy brought the room up to a high that stayed there through the entirety of the show and two encores. Continue reading

May 24

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios”: Raising the Tent

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Photo by Gillian Daniels

Exposé by Gillian Daniels

(East Boston, MA) The day I watch the tent raised in Boston, the sky is blue and cloudless. The tent itself is partially up but looks like a deflated balloon. Men and women in hard hats stand around the interior circumference, speaking French Canadian-accented and Boston-tinged English. Continue reading

May 11

Caravan Palace, 5/22, House of Blues, Boston

Promo by Gillian Daniels

Want to see a time traveling big band Sunday, May 22nd at the House of Blues? Well, one isn’t playing there, but the closest thing to it is. Caravan Palace is an energetic, vibrant, French electro-swing monster. They’re strange, science fictional, and sensational.

Caravan Palace is my personal ear candy and has been since I first heard “Bambous” off their self-titled 2008 album. Their sound is cheerful and energizing, something that gets me up on hard mornings and cools me off after bad days. They’re the retro-future earworm I’ve longed for, the jitterbug robot brass band perfect for listening to on loop. Continue reading

Apr 19

Bedroom Games and War Crimes in Terrifying “Threesome”


Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

April 8-May 7, 2016
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea.
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) Leila (Alison Meirowitz McCarthy) and Rashid (Mauro Canepa) are introduced to the audience in their pajamas as self-styled intellectuals, struggling to be distant from their emotions. They’re Egyptian-Americans who open the play conversing like an editorial on gender politics, feminism, and cultural differences. Then comes in Doug (Geoff Van Wyck), the photographer they have invited into their bedroom for a sexual adventure. He’s blunt, cheerful, and thoroughly naked. He is the chaotic element that opens them up to the insecurities that run deep through their relationship. His attitudes don’t represent some enlightened, Western view as a cure-all to their squeamishness, however. No, Doug has his own insecurities he’s bringing in, too. What begins as an adult comic drama ends as a dark exploration of the political and personal. Continue reading